In the Europa League knockout rounds, it’s standard for one leg of the tie to be played in the late match slot and the other to be played in the early slot. Which is which is down to the draw, and for Liverpool’s tie against local rivals Manchester United, the second leg at Old Trafford was set to kick off early.
For clubs on the continent this is rarely an issue—the late games kick off at 9:05PM CET and the early ones are at 7:00PM CET. For English clubs on GMT, though, kickoffs are an hour earlier, which causes issues with fans getting to the game for those early kickoffs. Normally the clubs shrug and accept the inconvenience.
Given the status of the Liverpool-United tie and that it’s a rivalry that will be well attended by local support of both sides, Manchester United asked UEFA to allow the second leg to kick off in the late slot. UEFA accepted it on similar grounds as their allowance that all Europa League matches in Russia have an early kickoff.
As a result, both legs of the Liverpool-United tie will kick off at 8:05PM GMT, or 9:05PM CET, making it easier for local fans to get into the match on time. It should also help to insure that fewer fans further afield tune in for the late kickoff of the second leg only to learn the game’s already over and the tie decided.
The first leg will kick off next Thursday, March 10th, at 8:05PM GMT from Anfield. The second leg will be a week later, on March 17th and also at 8:05PM GMT, from Old Trafford.